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Johnny 99

This song is by Bruce Springsteen and appears on the album Nebraska (1982) and on the live album Live/1975-85 (1986) by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

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Johnny 99
Well, they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun, shot a night clerk, now they call him Johnny 99

Down in the part of town where when you hit a red light you don't stop
Johnny's wavin' his gun around and threatenin' to blow his top
When an off-duty cop snuck up on him from behind
Out in front of the club Tip Top, they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99

Well the city supplied a public defender but the judge was mean John Brown
He came into the courtroom and stared poor Johnny down
Well the evidence is clear gonna let the sentence, son, fit the crime
Prison for 98 and a year and we'll call it even, Johnny 99

A fist fight broke out in the courtroom, they had to drag Johnny's girl away
His mama stood up and shouted "Judge, don't take my boy this way"
Well, son, you got any statement you'd like to make
Before the bailiff comes and forever take you away

Now judge, judge, I got debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holdin' my mortgage and takin' my house away
Now I ain't sayin' that make me an innocent man
But it was more'n all this that put that gun in my hand

Well, Your Honor, I do believe I'd be better off dead
And if you can take a man's life for the thoughts that's in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair and think it over, judge, one more time
And let 'em shave off my hair and put me on that execution line


Written by:

Bruce Springsteen

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